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Avatim projects 30% growth this year with plans to open stores in Europe by 2019

With 120 stores throughout Brazil, the Bahia-based cosmetic and fragrance manufacturer launched a concept store on Oscar Freire Street earlier this year and has recently opened up a sales office in São Paulo aimed at business expansion and brand consolidation.

Mônica Burgos was a lawyer in a city of just over 200,000 people in Southern Bahia when she decided to leave her career to study fashion design in Rio de Janeiro. Her Production and Costume Development teacher was creating scent marketing strategies for shopkeepers at the time, which inspired her to begin her journey as an entrepreneur in the world of aromas.

Avatim's founder Mônica Burgos - Credit Alex Freire

Avatim’s founder Mônica Burgos - Credit Alex Freire

After a successful stint selling handcrafted fragrance diffusers, she was invited by friend Cesar Favero back in Bahia to open a business together. Based in Ilhéus, Avatim (“aroma of the earth” from Brazil’s indigenous tupi-guarani language) began operating 15 years ago, originally focusing on fragrance diffusers. They then invested resources into developing fragrances for corporate clients, including brands such as Ellus, Colcci, Arezzo, and institutions including the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro.

In 2007, Avatim expanded yet again by creating a range of fragrances and body care products, along with the opening of stores throughout the country. Today there are 120 stores across 24 Brazilian states. “We certainly had no idea how far we could get, especially in such a short period of time,” says Burgos, recalling Avatim’s early days.

The first store to open this year was not an ordinary one. Starting with the location, Oscar Freire Street – widely known to be a pocket of high-end retail and one of the most luxurious shopping strips in the world. Avatim’s first concept store features a contemporary layout – unlike the other shops, which have more of a vintage slant – and highlights premium cosmetics and fine fragrances.

Having a concept store on Oscar Freire helps us consolidate our brand presence and deliver a complete Avatim experience to our customers,” says Burgos, having just opened a sales office in Sao Paulo. “We believe this is the way forward to expand the business more efficiently.

Avatim projects growth of 30% this year with the opening of 40 stores throughout Brazil and a wide product offering including home scents such as diffusers, incense and candles, as well as personal care products such as soaps, body oils and body lotions. “Cosmetic sales are now as big as home scent sales,” says Burgos.

Since 2016, the company has also been operating in Spain through direct sales. A distribution company imports the products, which are then marketed door-to-door. “We started our expansion into the foreign market in Spain. The European market is quite unique and despite the particularities of each country, I believe the Spanish operation will work as a gateway into the continent,” she says. And there’s more to come in 2019. “We have plans to open a concept store in Europe next year.

Back on Brazilian soil, Avatim – like any good Bahian – never misses a party. In recent years, the company has taken part in the most popular party in Brazil by developing exclusive fragrances for VIP areas and trios elétricos (floats carrying musicians and dancers) in the Salvador Carnival parade.

This year, the Carnival block led by singer Daniela Mercury paraded through the streets of the city spraying Avatim’s fragrance ‘Cheiro de Banzeiro’ into the crowd. “We started our work with scent marketing and it will always be part of our DNA. Aromas are a big part of everyday life. We love scents and live by everything we can smell,” says Burgos.

Renata Martins

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